Falling head over heels
THE CHOICE ( PG)
Director: Ross Katz ( Adult Beginners) Starring: Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace, Tom Wilkinson, Tom Welling Verdict: Decisions, decisions, derision.
JUST in time for Valentine’s Day, here comes the movie equivalent of a red, heart- shaped foil balloon attached to a cheap plastic stick.
Think as much as one sharp thought while watching The Choice, and the whole thing will deflate in an instant.
However, if you can keep believing with all your might in the bright, shiny and unapologetically sentimental version of true lurrrrrrrve presented here, you’ll have no choice but to fall head over heels.
As is with the case with most woozy romantic dramas to have oozed from the pen of novelist Nicholas Sparks, it is both awful, and awfully hard not to like.
While his devoted fanbase now know there will never be another Sparks movie adaptation as guiltypleasure great as The Notebook, they do seem perfectly happy with the perfumed piffle Hollywood regularly extracts from the author’s prolific output.
So where does The Choice sit in the Sparks’ cinematic canon? Well, it is not the silliest of them ( currently a tie between Safe Haven and The Best of Me), nor is it the soppiest ( again, hard to decide between Dear John and The Lucky One).
No, this one is the most sedate, careful not to deliver the mildest of shock developments or candlelit clinches without plenty of advance warning.
General spoiler alert : whenever heavy rain appears in a Sparks movie, a key character has a coming appointment at either the local cemetery or the nearest hospital.)
The need- to- know on the about- to- cuddle is very straightforward.
Occasional animal vet and fulltime party boy Travis ( Benjamin Walker) is fated to fall in love with the girl next door. Her name is Gabby ( Teresa Palmer). She has just moved in. She is a final- year medical intern, and already engaged to the most eligible doctor in town.
When Gabby’s fiance has to go upstate for a few weeks, guess who starts making eyes at each other? Pretty soon, they’re exchanging notes ( I kid you not) tied to the collars of their pet dogs.
Not too long after that, well, nature according to Nicholas Sparks must take its course.
Though Walker and Palmer never quite get around to playing believable characters, they do make a believable enough couple. That will be enough for those who love this kind of fluff.